19 April 2023

New artists join Canberra Glassworks' Artist in Residency program

| Claire Sams
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Glass being blown by artist Lisa Sammut on her residency at Canberra Glassworks. Photo: Canberra Glassworks Facebook.

Canberra Glassworks’ Artist in Residency program is returning for its 16th year, with 18 artists joining the world-class facility.

Each artist will have four to six weeks at the Glassworks to complete their residency, with slots staggered throughout the year.

The artists will have complete access to the Canberra Glassworks’ facilities during their time in Kingston, including their kilns, mould-making area and glass-blowing studio.

The public will also be to see their work in upcoming exhibitions and attend various events held at the Glassworks.

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Glassworks artistic director Aimee Frodsham said the coming year was set to be a big one for the Artist in Residence program, following a competitive application process.

“It was really lovely to lock in dates and feel that excitement with the artists,” she said.

The first of the 18 artists taking part in the residency this year is Lisa Sammut, who is based in the ACT and has a background in sculpture, video and installation art.

Ms Sammut had already started her residency, with around half of her work so far consisting of hand-blown glass, and the rest utilising other techniques.

Lisa Sammut’s 2021 piece ‘radial sign’, a HD video projection. Photo: Canberra Glassworks Facebook.

Ms Sammut said she was looking to explore themes in a new medium.

“I often work with cosmic themes, cosmic time and scale.”

“I think my aim of the residency is to find to new ways to explore the ideas in my work.”

She will be joined by a range of other artists who will be taking part in the residency program, including Ros Lemoh, Mary-Rose Faulkner, John Brekke, Robert Fielding, Ross Manning, Erin Vink, Nicholas Burridge, Brendan Van Hek, Emily Parsons-Lord, Julie Bartholomew, Jordon Benson and Bronte Cormican-Jones.

Both Ms Lemoh and Ms Sammut are expected to feature in exhibitions in 2023 as part of their residencies, while Ms Faulkner also received the Canberra Glassworks Mentorship.

“We’re just thrilled to have such a high calibre of artists working in glass,” Ms Frodsham said.

“[They become] part of the community here, to use all the facilities and to make work and to research and to learn about art.”

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The program is also celebrating an exciting new milestone: the first international artist to come to the Glassworks since COVID restrictions lifted.

John Brekke, who will be creating in the Hotshop during a six-month residency supported by Art Group, is based in Brooklyn, New York.

“We’re just so excited to be able to bring someone over, because glass is such a small world, these international connections that we have are really strong,” Ms Frodsham said.

While the program features artists who are experienced in working with glass, it also accepted several who are just starting out their career.

“They can just focus on the technique and learning about glass and then they work on their own conceptual ideas within our technical framework,” she said.

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As Ms Frodsham explained, the Glassworks is the perfect place for new artists to learn about glass and hone their skills.

“The Glassworks is a really amazing facility because we not only do glass blowing, but we have all these other elements of glass that no one else has,’ she said.

“Being one of those studios that is one of the best in the world here in Canberra, it means that we can bring people in so they can see what we do and how we do it.”

“For me, it’s really exciting to get the details about what they want to do and to start planning how we can help them do that – and to really encourage them to think really big.”

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Visitors to the Glassworks can see the artists’ work in upcoming exhibitions and also watch them behind the scenes in the Hotshop, which has a public viewing platform.

“People can come and watch artists work, but they can also do the program themselves.”

“The general public can come and have a little taste of a mini-residency by coming to do one of our public programs, as well.”

In 2023, the program is primarily supported with funding from the Australia Council for the Arts and additional support from ArtsACT, Art Group and ADFAS Canberra.

Canberra Glassworks is located at 11 Wentworth Avenue in Kingston, and is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm. More information about the Glassworks and the residency program is available on the Canberra Glassworks website.

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